New Delhi, May 24
India and Australia on Wednesday discussed how both countries can take active steps to check the challenges that arise in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The bilateral between PM Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Sydney dwelt on how India and Australia, being strategic partners, can work together not just to accentuate, amplify and harness the opportunities but also to take active steps to mitigate the challenges that arise in the region,” said Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra when asked whether China was a topic of discussion. The two leaders also deliberated on working together to “shape a positive agenda” in the Quad and in the Indo-Pacific. “Naturally, challenges to peace and stability, and prosperity in the region were also discussed,” the Foreign Secretary said.
Frank, honest and productive discussions as the PMs assessed the progress in key areas and chalked out what they could focus on in the months and years ahead. Vinay Mohan Kwatra, foreign secretary
Key announcements pertained to the India-Australia Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement (MMPA), and finalisation of the terms of reference of the India-Australia Hydrogen Task Force. Under the MMPA, Australia has created a new skilled pathway named MATES (Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early Professionals Scheme). The two leaders also agreed to accelerate talks on a free trade pact. With the two PMs scheduled to meet again in Delhi in September, they called for two rounds of talks in June and July.
Soon after the bilateral, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Australian counterpart Penny Wong and tweeted that “the follow-up to the Prime Ministers’ summit has commenced. India and Australia are increasingly demonstrating their ability to go beyond the bilateral and collaborate at the regional and global level”.
Info exchange on separatist activity
The two countries will exchange info on separatists and vandals defacing temples in Australia.
Of the 10 areas of bilateral discussion, three would be in intense focus in the months ahead, said Kwatra. These were green hydrogen, mobility partnership and defence, security and technology pillar. Kwatra said two Australian universities had opened their campuses in GIFT City, Ahmedabad. He also mentioned the reciprocal opening of consulates in Brisbane and Bengaluru.
The PM also met Governor General David Hurley and Leader of Opposition Peter Dutton. He later addressed a roundtable of industrialists on the last day of his six-day three-country visit.
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